Thursday, November 19

guaiabero galore

i had such a horrible work week (not my classes but something else) last week, that i was itching to go somewhere far, far away from the office.  by some serendipitous event, lydia called for butterfly watching at subic (which of course is really birdwatching, especially since the dragontail season was at its tail end), and nestor kindly offered adri and me a ride.

because it was "butterfly-watching", we arrived at subic with the sun shining, but i was still surprised by the birdi-ness.  whiskered tree-swifts, woodpeckers, a pompadour green pigeon,a chinese goshawk, parrots (lots! colasisi, guaiabero, blue-naped and raquet-tail) dollarbirds, a serpent eagle, cuckoo-shrikes, ashy minivets, coletos, etc., etc. made for easy birding (again, i think that the label "butterfly-watching" contributed to this).

there were several tigbi (a type of fig) trees in fruit, and after a wonderful lunch with tina and wency, lydia, bob and cynthia, and nestor... we discovered one by our favorite after-lunch hangout.  the shrill calls of the guaiaberos constantly rang out inspite of it being mid-day.  there was even a female tarictic carefully hopping from branch to branch eating its fill of fruit. 

i love guaiaberos.  to me, they fall under the category "cute" (yes, right up there with the philippine falconet).  what's not to love? one, they are chunky, little balls which whiz past like green bullets.  two, they're parrots!  parrots have such personality! i love watching parrots (big or small) walking along branches, gingerly grabbing the branch with each foot while walking sideways or up. three, they are fascinated with their food. yup, whether munching on flowers or fruit, they can be be so engrossed with eating that they become oblivious to your presence.  four,  you may hear them, but you won't necessarily spot them. these little green balls literally melt into the foliage... don't take your eyes of them or it may be now-you-see-'em-now-you-don't. just the challenge which can keep you staring at a tree for hours.  which leads me to reason #5:  they could be kermit the frog singing "it's not easy being green".

(and... while frantically searching for noisy but-hard-to-see guaiaberos, what would fly out of the tree but a small flock of pompadour green pigeons. yes, green, big and also with invisibility powers.)

anyway, the couple of hours i spent staring at these almost-invisible birds were enough to give me my birding fix that would carry me through this work week.

(lala, if you're reading this... this is for you. parrots in subic always remind me of you now. ☺  thanks to adri for letting me use his new toy)

Tuesday, November 17

camaro for dinner

last night, after a day of not feeling well and attending three-fourths of a research symposium, mom texted to ask me if i was having dinner at home.  to which i answered "yes".  i had forgotten the logistics of getting home past 7pm via jeepney (plus having to drop by a grocery store)  and adri and i were figuring out whether it was faster to walk or to take several jeepney rides or to just take a cab.

anyway, when i got home, my mom was waiting for us with a dinner treat: camaro for dinner!  camaro - not the car, but mole crickets!  adobong camaro... yummy.

camaro is a pampangueño delicacy.  in season, the crickets come out of the dry ground when the farmers stamp the fields with their feet.  the crickets are caught, wings (and a few legs) pulled out (other parts as well i suppose), then it's straight to the pot to make adobong crickets.

ok, so mole crickets cooked with vinegar and toyo might not be for everyone.  it was definitely not for me when i was much younger!  my mother had made the mistake of describing the taste of camaro as "it's good!  when you bite it a creamy, tasty fluid will come out". not exactly the  description you would tell visually-oriented persons.  of course i would describe it as:  very tasty. like crunchy, tasty adobo. or simply: mmmm... yum.

excuse me while i fish out a cricket leg caught between my teeth...